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October 27, 2017 9:26 pm

Symphony Looks for Loan Forgiveness

Monday, August 29, 2016 @ 5:59 AM


Prince George, B.C. – For the second time this year  City Council will be asked to forgive a loan to a local organization.

The Prince George Symphony Orchestra  was   given a loan of $50 thousand dollars   in 2005.   There is  still $17,500 owing to the City.

Tonight,  the  Symphony will make a presentation to  Council, asking that the balance of the loan be forgiven.

In January of this year,  Council  rejected  forgiving  the outstanding balance  of a loan   given to the Prince George  Agriculture and Historical Society (BCNE)  and instead  directed  Administration to  work with the BCNE to  rework the  terms of repayment.

Also on the agenda for this evening’s regular meeting,   the details of the Licence Plate Recognition  program and  changes to the parking fines ( see previous story).

Council will  also examine a water conservation plan aimed at reducing  water  consumption in the City.  The plan calls for  a number of actions including a phased  system  of water use restrictions  during extended hot spells,  a continuation of the voluntary water metering system and improved leak detection.

In 2005,  the City  had  set out a plan to see  water consumption  drop by 15%  in ten years. Studies show overall water use reduction from 2005 to 2015 had dropped by just 5%.


will happen.

    Too bad; it shouldn’t happen. make your payments or fold. That’s what happens to all the other club’s or businesses.

    what will happen???
    Where’s all those people that wanted that big fancy facility put in… Ask them to help pay this debt. The people of PG should not be asked to subsidize a select few, especially in this case, where the patrons can afford to attend such function.

When you consider that we are bringing in an unnecessary new parking system, that basically has only one goal, and that is to generate revenue for the city and irritate tax payers and shoppers at a cost of some $450,000.00 when the present system works just fine. Or if you look at the city hooking up the Provincial Government buildings on George St. to the less than stellar community energy system for a sum of some $450,000.00 with no tangible benefits or return on investment. Then forgiving $17,500.00 for the PGSO that does in fact provide some benefit to the city seems like a no brainer.

    Fully agree about the parking scheme! It is an expensive and awkward solution which could have been avoided with parking meters, like at the airport, at the hospital…and so forth! We parked in Vancouver at some locations where the meter rate is 2 bucks for 30 minutes or a buck for 15 minutes! I do not believe that anybody who working downtown would feed any parking meters with 32 bucks for an 8 hour shift! They would either take a bus, car pool or put their vehicle into a parking garage!

    Refusing the forgiving of a small loan for the PGSO is accomplishing what? No support for the arts! It looks like something from the agenda of a recent Canadian PM.

The City needs to look at its own policy on reducing water and set example for others rather than letting the sprinklers running when its supposed to be turned off during certain hours.

In 2005, the City had set out a plan to see water consumption drop by 15% in ten years. Studies show overall water use reduction from 2005 to 2015 had dropped by just 5%.

Is this based on the present housing in place??? Not factoring in all the new subdivisions popping up??? Just wondering

If I own a small business that employees people, that pay taxes, that presumably is a benefit to the city. If my business has a loan from the bank, and I start to have a financial crunch, should the bank forgive the last part of my loan? Hell no.

If the PGSO can’t manage their funds, perhaps they need to re-examine their very existence. If they are such a big necessity for a thriving city, perhaps they should stand on a street corner with a coffee can and collect loonies. If 17,000 residents want to keep the PGSO, then they can pony up the $1.

I don’t mind helping out arts groups from time to time via city coffers, but this bunch seems to be in a revolving door of cap in hand.

    One needs to be informed about all arts/culture groups as well as recreation groups in order to determine which ones use that revolving door of cap in hand most often and by how much.

    Take a look at TNW, for instance. They receive well over $100,000 each year. Yet, over time, they have managed to build up a legacy well over $300,000.

    There is no equity in this dog-eat-dog world of living off the avails of robbing from the poor to pay for the rich.

      I suggest that TNW take the PGSO under its umbrella! TNW could regularly put on concerts featuring the PGSO until the day arrives when the community will have the PAC which is on the list of priorities close to the top!

Take up a collection from the social elite that attend, let’s see how bad they really want the symphony.

    Do you have any facts (survey results in PG) that led you to conclude that only the “social elite” attends and is in favour of the kind of music the PGS features? I am certainly not one of the “social elite” but a person who worked all his life for wages! Yet, I love classical music immensely and consider it part of my spiritual life and contentment! I am not grumpy about the City subsidizing the CN Center and the Cougars although I am not a hockey fan. So why are you so dismissive about the PGSO?

      PG, are you saying the social elite do not attend? I did not say only the social elite attend, I know a few who do attend the symphony and I would class them as social elite. Me, well I am like you in that I have worked all my life for wages but that’s where the similarities end, I would rather take in a Nascar race than a symphony.

      Let’s get the facts straight! PN:” Take up a collection from the social elite that attend, let’s see how bad they really want the symphony.”

      You did not say that they should take up a collection from everybody(!) who attends the PGSO, your comment is plain and not open to interpretation or guessing!

      “PG, are you saying the social elite do not attend?”

      How do you come to the conclusion that I do not want the elite to attend? I replied to your post (which only mentioned the elite!) and therefore the above quotation is a total mystery to me, unless it is unnecessary sarcasm!

Fact is the city subsidizes everyone’s favorite activity. There is no group paying user fees sufficient to pay for and fund the operating costs of the facility they use. From the soccer fields to the Multi-plex, they all require taxpayer help. If they could go it on their own, private business would fund it.

So, if your kid is out kicking a soccer ball, or you play rec hockey, or you like to swim, you’re already collecting a subsidy from the city. PGSO fans, are also collecting a subsidy from the city. And it could be argued, that particular group of people pays more taxes than the average citizen.

It’s just a fact that if you want a livable city, taxpayers have to make these things happen.

Even the PAC admits it will run operating loses every year, requiring a subsidy.

And here’s the kicker, you can start cherry picking which program you want cut, never knowing the unintended consequences. Lots of you complained about the bike lanes, but I personally am aware of 10 medical specialists who love to bike, and if you make it even harder for them, Northern Health might end up on a recruiting campaign and you might be off to Vancouver for that hip replacement – in 3 or 4 years from now.

In full disclosure, I have never gone to PGSO concert.

    “There is no group paying user fees sufficient to pay for and fund the operating costs of the facility they use”

    There are always exceptions.

    The Roller-A-Dome receives no City funds. That building has existed since 1955. It was outside the City limits at the time and received no public funds to build a $130,000 curling rink funded totally by user buy-in of something like $750 + other fundraising activities.

    Of course, the City wants to tear it down. No thanks to those who put in private investments to allow some inexpensive entertainment.

    No wonder people are after using public funds when they get no thanks from the City and community for running a frugal operation.

      OMG just had to check my pulse. You just typed something that made sense

Well, it is of my opinion. The city should not forgive the loan. It was loaned on the intention of it being paid back.

There are a lot of patrons who go to the symphony who has deep pockets. So why not ask for help from the patrons. Be creative and develop a plan to pay back the city, as well as build up a legacy fund.

Get new board members, revitalize the board, and bring in fresh minds.

There is definitely room for the PGSO to look at their pricing structure. If someone buys a season pass for all 11 performances the cost is only $25 per event based on pricing they have on their website.

We paid almost what a PGSO season pass would cost for each front row ticket to The Hip last fall and tickets for the upcoming Keith Urban concert are $175 per for the few that are left.

If they increased the price per ticket by even $5 across the board it would put them on the path to a more secure financial footing. For a couple to get an evening of live music for $60 is a bargain.

Don’t forget that they got a $24k arts grant from the province a matter of weeks ago and there is only one taxpayer footing the bill.


THE PGSO already gets an annual subsidy of about $58,000 (2016). This loan is over and above that subsidy. What they are asking for is a bigger subsidy by forgiving the debt.

I found these tidbits on City of PG’s website from a PGSO presentation


2003: An accumulated debt of $120,000 and a continuing operating deficit led to a new strategic plan and business plan. The City provided a loan of $50,000 to be paid by 2020

2009-2010: Cash crunch averted thanks to patron generosity


If the cash crunch is averted, and they have until 2020 to pay off the loan, why the rush to forgive it?

The PGSO 2015 3-Year Strategic Plan reads they want to be on solid financial footing with diversified funding sources. I guess the City of PG (taxpayers) is one of those sources by asking for the loan forgiveness.

PG, I am sticking to my original post, the fact is the social elite do attend and there is nothing wrong with asking for donations. How you turned this around to you do not want the social elite to attend is a mystery to me. If you were offended my post did not include patrons of the symphony not considered the social elite then that is all you had to say.

    A comment of the sort that you posted can not offend me! It is far too trivial a matter!

    I never disputed that a social elite attends the PGSO just like those who do not belong to the segment that you call social elite. You picked on a social group and tailored your comment accordingly:

    PN:” Take up a collection from the social elite that attend, let’s see how bad they really want the symphony.”

    Not a word about the rest of those who attend. Too bad you will not back your own words!

    Have it your way.

Lets keep in mind that the City spends $300,000.00 per year in support of the Northern Sports Centre.

They also give a annual tax exemption of roughly $140,000.00 to the Prince George Golf and Curling Club Society.

The City receives much less revenue from a Cougers game than they should, because of the lack of attendance over the years. This may change if attendance keeps rising, however make no mistake, the cougers have been subsidized over the years by the City.

So we can say with some certainty that for those who don’t golf, watch the PGSO, go to the Northern Sports Centre, or watch hockey, they are getting taxed for a hell of a lot of subsidies.

Having the PGSO on the list makes little difference.

    The city rents the CN Centre ice for 255.00 per hour or 3,000.00 per event, less for regular events. I doubt the Cougar’s are paying much less than that per game and considering the Cougar’s receive 0.00 for concessions while other renter’s split 80/20… Even adding in the room rentals at 40.00 to 60.00 per event the city is making more off the Cougar’s than you “think”. Maybe do a FOI and you can then claim how much we are “subsidizing” the club, without actual numbers you are just guessing. The 10 year lease is expiring and negotiations are most likely underway for the next contract, maybe get yourself involved in our city goings on. The original contract was for 15% of the gate so you could go down to 2,000 attendance and still be over the regular event fee for the building, not sure of the latest contract but I am sure you could find out

If you can’t afford to run this nicety then stop. If people want a symphony then have fund raisers etc..

We are all sick of being gouged by the city..stop the bleeding by stopping all these money gifts.

I do not agree that it’s just the social elite who attend… It’s anyone who enjoys that kind of music. Just like saying it’s only red necks who go to country concerts.. Liking one type of music does not make you a certain type of person.

    “I do not agree that it’s just the social elite who attend… It’s anyone who enjoys that kind of music.”

    I am with you on this one! Any suggestion to single out a “social elite” for additional funding instead of including everybody who enjoys the PGSO – regardless of *social class* – makes no sense, especially since the city already is funding all kinds of other venues! All PGSO patrons are buying tickets, so it is not as if admission is free.

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